Artist Talk: Taus Makhacheva with Sara Raza

October 11, 7pm


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Join us on Wednesday, October 11 for an evening with Taus Makhacheva, in conversation with Sara Raza!

This talk will explore Makhacheva’s practice and open up threads of memory, history and legacy that are teased out in the artist’s newest film Цlумихъ (Tsumikh – Avar for “At the Eagle’s”), and the newly commissioned photograph, 42.6729165, 47.7314644, both on view in our Lower Level through December 16.

In Цlумихъ, Makhacheva interrogates the fraught relationship between personal and public memory by revisiting how her late grandfather, Rasul Gamzatov (b.1923–2003)––a celebrated Soviet poet––is remembered. Taking place in a set that is repeatedly constructed and deconstructed, Makhacheva’s childhood recollections of her grandfather meet the manifestation of Gamzatov’s public identity. Over the course of the film, it is subtly revealed how these remembrances are at odds with one another. The film stages the sculptural busts, archives, documents and newspapers used to memorialize Gamzatov’s life and legacy, contrasting these with the mementos and personal stories of his family.

42.6729165, 47.7314644 is a photograph of a concrete sculpture resting on a hill in Dagestan facing the Caspian Sea. Titled after the coordinates of its photographed location, the object was placed at this site by the artist in September 2023 after the completion of her film ЦIумихъ. The making of the concrete sculpture is the subject of Makhacheva’s second film, which is currently in post-production. Weighing 54 kilograms, the block holds within it a bronze-cast bust of the artist’s great grandfather Gamzat Tsadasa. Encasing the bronze bust is another molded plaster bust of the artist’s grandfather, Rasul Gamzatov. The two busts have been encased inside a concrete block whose dimensions match those of the head and shoulders of Patimat Gamzatova, the daughter of Rasul Gamzatov, and the mother of Taus Makhacheva. The layering of histories acts as an enshrinement and a concealment, a protection and an erasure, a remembrance and a refusal.

The event will be taking place in-person at Canal Projects, with Makhacheva joining us virtually. Join our Instagram livestream to access the event offsite.

Taus Makhacheva (b. 1983, Moscow) creates works that explore the restless connections between historical narratives and fictions of cultural authenticity. Often humorous, her art considers the resilience of images, objects and bodies emerging out of stories and personal experiences. Her methodology involves reworking of materials, landscapes and monuments, pushing against walls, opening up ceilings and proliferating institutional spaces with a cacophony of voices. Makhacheva holds a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths (2007) and has an MFA from the Royal College of Art (2013).

Selected exhibitions include the Gwangju Biennale (2023), Biennial of Difficult Heritage (2021), the Yokohama Triennale (2020), Lahore Biennale (2020), Kaunas Biennial (2019), Lyon Biennale (2019), Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2018), Liverpool Biennial (2018), Manifesta (2018), Yinchuan Biennale (2018), Venice Biennale (2017), Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art (2017), Shanghai Biennale (2016), Kyiv Biennial (2015), Sharjah Biennial (2013) and the Moscow Biennale (2011). Selected сollections include the Centre Pompidou (Paris); The P. S. Gamzatova Dagestan Museum of Fine Arts (Makhachkala); Kadist Art Foundation (Paris, San Francisco); Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Moscow); Museum of Modern Art (Antwerp); Sharjah Art Foundation (Sharjah); Tate Modern (London); Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven).

Sara Raza is an award-winning curator and writer specializing in global art and visual cultures from a postcolonial and post-Soviet perspective and is the author of Punk Orientalism: The Art of Rebellion (Black Dog Press, London 2022). Raza has curated exhibitions and projects for international museums, biennials, and festivals including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Galleria d’Arte Moderna (Milan), Rubin Museum of Art (New York), Mathaf: Modern Arab Art Museum (Doha, Qatar), the MacKenzie Art Gallery (Saskatchewan, Canada), Maraya Art Center, (Sharjah), the Tashkent Biennale (Uzbekistan), the 55th Venice Biennale, and the 3rd Baku Public Art Festival (Azerbaijan), among others. Formerly, she was the Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator for the Middle East and North Africa at the Guggenheim Museum, New York and Curator of Public Programs at Tate Modern, London. Raza is the West and Central Asia Desk Editor for ArtAsiaPacific magazine and has written for numerous artist monographs, books, and catalogues. She is the recipient of the 11th ArtTable New Leadership Award for Women in the Arts and was honored by Deutsche Bank and Apollo as one of 40 under 40 global art specialists (thinkers’ category). She is a Walter Hopps Curatorial Excellence Award Finalist and the Arts Council of England Emerging Curator’s Awardee (2004-05). Sara holds a BA (hons) in English Literature and History of Art and an MA in 20th-Century Art History and Theory, both from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and pursued studies towards her PhD at the Royal College of Art, London. She lives and works in New York City, where she teaches at the School of Visual Arts Masters Curatorial Practice and is a Red Burns Fellow at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and teaches on the Progam’s Masters’ course.

Photo of Taus Makhacheva: Anastasia Ivanova
Photo of Sara Raza: Asya Gorovitz

Taus Makhacheva, ЦIумихъ (Tsumikh - Avar for "At the Eagle's"), 2023, single-channel video, color, sound, 59min 45sec. Image courtesy the artist. Production Support by Sharjah Art Foundation Production Grant with additional support from the patrons group at the Tselinny Center of Contemporary Culture.